Statistics Canada reported this week that the incidence of police reported crime declined 6 percent in 2011 from the previous year, and is now at the lowest level it has been since 1972.
The Crime Severity Index, which measures the severity of crime, also fell 6 percent, while the Violent Crime Severity Index, which measures the severity of only violent crimes, dropped 4 percent, continuing a two decade long downward trend in crime rate metrics.
Canada’s crime rate was 3,000 incidents per 100,000 residents in 1962, but then rapidly increased through the 1960s and 70s. The increase in the crime rate slowed in the 1980s and finally reached its peak in 1991, before beginning its 20 year decline to the present.
The current rate of 6,000 incidences of crime per 100,000 residents is 40 percent lower than the 1991 peak, but still double the rate in 1962, a fact that the federal Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, stressed on his Twitter account after announcing the milestone.
“Rate is still 208% above 1962 levels, more work for our gov’t to do,” Toews tweeted.
The Statistics Canada report showed Manitoba and Saskatchewan with the highest Crime Severity Index among the provinces, and Ontario the lowest.
Much of the violent crime in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is concentrated in the provinces’ sizable native communities which have been racked by high rates of alcoholism and violence for decades.